Female genital mutilation/cutting: a systematic review and meta-ethnography exploring women’s views of why it exists and persists

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Objectives: Despite well-documented negative consequences, female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) continues to be widely practised. In this systematic review, we investigated women's views of why FGM/C exists and persists. Methods: A meta-ethnographic approach was used in this systematic review of qualitative research. Results: Twenty-seven studies were included in this review and they represented the views and experiences of 823 women. FGM/C was considered a ‘rite of passage’ which was enforced to curb the expression of their sexuality and maintain social and gender norms within its communities. Nevertheless, attitudes towards FGM/C were changing among migrant populations. Conclusions: Creating community awareness projects, enforcing strict laws coupled with increasing health professional involvement may reduce the incidence of FGM/C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalInternational Journal of Sexual Health
Early online date31 Oct 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 31 Oct 2019

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© 2019 Informa UK Limited. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • female genital mutilation
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • child abuse
  • FGM, violence against women, gender-based violence, qualitative systematic review.

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